Big growth at local battery plant - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Big growth at local battery plant

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Just five years after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, more than 6,000 people work at the Toledo Assembly Complex and hundreds of additional jobs have been created at suppliers. In fact, here are about three times the amount of people working at TAC compared to just five years ago. Suppliers like Johnson Controls have also seen a big increase in the ranks.

Johnson Controls has been doing business in Northwest Ohio for decades adding hundreds of workers to its two local plants in recent years. Corey Humbarger has worked at the plant in Holland for nearly two decades. He now heads up the Johnson Controls Battery Unit for UAW Local 12, "We are a 24/7 operation. There are only about 7 days a year when we are shut down. It's amazing to see us go from about 300 employees to another 150 in just the last two years. I believe we could see a few more hires before it's over."

Humbarger says the Holland battery plant has doubled in size since he started but he says that's not the best part of the expansion, "To put a big addition on the building was impressive but when you start seeing new faces that's encouraging to everybody."

Humbarger says workers here build batteries for a number of companies. That includes Chrysler and the Toledo Assembly Complex. They build traditional original equipment or OE batteries .as well as batteries used in the new start/stop technology, "When you stop at a stop light and you have your foot on the brakes, the engine cuts out and starts running on the battery as you proceed the engine starts back up, which saves gas."

Bruce Baumhower is the President of  UAW Local 12 and he says the reason Johnson Controls brought the work to its holland plant is simple, the workforce, "When they came out with the new start/stop technology a Vice President at Johnson Controls said the reason they brought it to Toledo was that it was the best return on their investment to put it here."
 
Johnson Controls has another plant in Northwood. Workers there build dash panels and seats for the Jeep Cherokee and the seats for the Wrangler. That plant has gone from 60 workers in 2001 to more than 500 today. 

Back to the Toledo Assembly Complex, Baumhower says about 3,900 jobs have been created there since 2009 with another 500 jobs being added at outside suppliers like Johnson Controls.

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